My body is not company property

Venus Davis

but you treat me like a nameless face
like I am land to own or inventory to count.

These hands are meant to caress, to hold,
to catch lightning bugs in the summer,
to build sandcastles, and to capture wonder by pen to paper.

Yet, they are calloused until they bleed,
nails are bitten short, and my heartbeat hammers in my ears
from belittlement booming over the speakers
of the vocal chords of someone who holds power
over me because they value their place in this capitalist society
for an extra $30,000 of livable wage

but because I won’t give
this company access to every single nerve ending
and home in the vacancy of my smile,

I am lazy and not working hard enough

but I won’t let my body become alien to me
just so more people can eat overpriced french fries.
I won’t stand for eight hours
without a second to rest just so you don’t have to
find ways to accommodate my loss for thirty minutes.

I won’t come in when you beg me just
because you didn’t bother to schedule anyone else.

My body is a home,
a tender palace of heart
and veins and blood pumping at a normal rate,
and organs existing happily without a care for a corporation.

I will not bow to you because you pay me (minimum wage).

Venus Davis is a 21-year-old queer writer from Cleveland, Ohio. They are the editor in chief of Periwinkle Literary Magazine. They are a former poetry reader for Random Sample Review and Gordon Square Review. Their work has been featured in Marias at Sampaguitas, Royal Rose Magazine, Ayaskala, Crepe & Penn, and many other publications. They are the author of Sensitive Divination, an astrology microchapbook as well as the microchapbooks, Blue and @ngel number(s).  You can find them on social media @venusbeanus,, and

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